Kurdish Boy Sentenced to Life in Prison Twice Despite Contradictory Age Reports
Suat Bahadır’s age has been increased in a report from the Istanbul Institute of Forensic Medicine (ATK) from 15 to 22 years and he has been given aggravated life imprisonment twice on charges of “killing someone deliberately due to the public service they fulfill” and “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state”, Özgür Gündem newspaper reported.
Systematic genocide against Kurdish children in Turkey is going on without ceasing. Inspired by the fascistic rule of Kenan Evren, chief of the general staff of Turkey that led the 1980 military coup, Turkish police detained Suat Bahadır, a 15-year old Kurdish boy who had been working at a pastry shop in Adana. Not knowing why he was detained, Suat was first taken to Adana police department and then was given a heavy life sentence twice at the end of the court hearings.
Suat Bahadir was detained on accusations that he killed a police officer named Ferdi Özkan during demonstrations on August 15, 2009.
Bahadır was 15 years old when the incident took place. He was taken to ATK for age assessment. Bahadır was given three different reports. Finally, in April 2012, his age was in a report increased and he was put in Sincan F Type Prison.
According to the first report Bahadır was 19 – 21 years old at the time of the alleged crime while the second one stated that he was 15 – 16 years old. The second report revealed the true identity age of Bahadır but the final report asserted he was 20 – 22 years old without performing a bone test for Bahadır.
Bahadır was first held in Pozantı Children’s Prison, which is infamous for the rape and sexual abuse that Kurdish children and juveniles have been exposed to. Then, he was sent to Sincal F Type Prison.
Suat Bahadır was working at a pastry shop in Adana when he was detained on August 15, 2009. He was first taken to Adana police department and then to the state hospital. He did not even know why he was detained or taken to the hospital. Then, he learnt that he was taken to hospital for bone tests. After the physical examination at the hospital, he was arrested by the decree of the vacation court and put in Pozantı Children’s Prison.
Bahadır was shocked when he saw the indictment prepared about his case, which stated that he was judged on charges of killing a police officer. At the first trial, the judge said to him: “They have taken you to undergo bone tests. They say that you are 19 or 21 years old. Your identity card shows that you are 15 years old but that is not correct.” Bahadır objected to the court, stating that he is 15. Upon the objection, the court demanded Bahadır undergo another bone test.
The second report submitted by the hospital documented that Bahadır was 15 or 16 years old. The court board was not pleased with this report, and sent Bahadır to ATK for another bone test. After the army officer who took Bahadır to Istanbul talked with the board of the institute, the institute asserted in the report that “the bone age of Suat Bahadır is between 20 and 22.”
Even though Bahadır raised an objection to this allegation as well, the court board agreed on the report written by ATK.
In the meantime, after the scandal of rape and sexual assaults at Pozantı Prison was revealed, the children who were held there were sent to Sincan Prison. Almost a month after Bahadır was taken to Sincan, he attended the court hearing in Adana through a conference system set up in the prison campus.
During the hearing, Suat Bahadır told the court board that he certainly did not commit the alleged crime and that he was not 22 years old.
However, the court decided that Bahadır was more than 20 so he could not be held in a children’s prison any more and ordered him to be put in Sincan F Type Prison.
After Bahadır was held in Sincan F Type Prison for one more month, he joined the second hearing though a conference system again and the sentence given to Suat Bahadır by the Adana 2nd high criminal court was announced on 4 June 2012: Two aggravated life imprisonments!
Having been given a life sentence twice, Suat Bahadır has also been sentenced to a year in prison for making propaganda of an organization.
Bahadır believed that he would be released at the end of the hearings as he was innocent; but he was wrong. He is in prison now, serving life and thinks that what has been done to him is very similar to the story of Erdal Eren.
Erdal Eren was 17 when Turkey’s military hanged him on December 13, 1980 after seizing power in the 1980 coup.
Eren was given death penalty on accusations that he killed a private soldier during a demonstration. Eren’s age was also increased on paper after he was detained and his punishment was approved by the National Security Council.
Following the military coup, 650,000 people were arrested; 230,000 were put on trial, 98,404 for political activities; 65,000 were sentenced. 517 people were sentenced to death; 49 were hanged, including a 17-year old boy, Erdal Eren. 300 others were assassinated in the streets. 171 detainees died under torture. 30,000 workers were sacked and 388,000 people had their passport applications refused; 30,000 escaped from Turkey illegally as political refugees. 14,000 were stripped of citizenship rights. 23,667 trade unions, associations and parties were closed down. 3,854 teachers, 120 university lecturers and 47 judges were sacked. 300 journalists were attacked physically by fascists and the police: many were killed.
Even though it is not the army that rules Turkey today and the present government officials of the country are claimed to be “democratically elected,” the fascistic nature of the Turkish state still lives on as demonstrated by the unlawful and arbitrary decisions made by Turkish institutions.
And as long as we do not hear a deafening cry of outrage from the international community concerning the oppression that Kurds have been subject to for decades, Kurdish children will continue to be the biggest victims of the brutal crimes committed by Turkish state.